However, the horror of how my life has been completely designed by my elementary school years poured into my awareness this morning like a rushing burst of ice cold water. What I learned in elementary school was TO WAIT!
My last name began with "W", so I was always at the end of the line:
- let others go first (Maybe the unknown is dangerous, and they will make it safe?)
- let others eat first (I always served my family their food and ate last.)
- be patient, your turn will come (...unless they run out of food by the time I get into the serving line)
Actually, however, it was more than just 'wait your turn'; more than learning politeness. It was learning that I needed to be last: the last to choose, the last to graduate, the last in the row.
I have internally adopted completely this elementary "truth":
- I wait to get my questions answered.
- I wait for my husband to come home or get ready to leave when we are going somewhere.
- I wait to start a new exercise program.
- I wait for my friends to call or come see me.
- I let others get in front of me on the freeway and in the grocery store lines.
- I wait for people to discover my talents and how I can help them. (No advertising allowed.....that would shorten the waiting!)
- I wait to play or have fun (maybe tomorrow or 'later on')
- I wait to be recognized or to succeed or to be called upon to help someone.
- I wait to help myself (after a suitable amount of waiting, I can schedule a massage, for example)
- I even imagine I will be the last to leave the movie theater if it catches on fire, or the last to be lifted off earth during an Apocalypse (you get the picture...no cutting to the first of the line....I belong at the back, unseen....after all, all eyes are forward)
It is such a natural part of my persona I did not even recognize I did it. It's 'how life is'. It's 'what you do". But really, it's what came from having a last name that started with 'W' and being programmed year after year from ages 5-10 to WAIT.
So what has that done for me besides teach me patience? Has it made me a nicer person? I suppose those who were trained to go first would say, "Yes."; those who were trained to think would question why I wait so much; and those who were in the middle-so-to-speak might have no opinion at all ---- they were surrounded by a sea of others all in 'the same boat'.
It's been well over 50 years since I left elementary school behind. I think today I will graduate. I've waited long enough.